This Week in Comics: July 28 (Angel, Black Cat)

I finally got a light week at the comic shop. While it was a blessing to my wallet, it wasn't so good for my enjoyment.

Angel #35

I was going to do a whole separate post on this week's "Angel", but it really would have felt like piling on. After a couple issues where I started to like the story, this issue went completely off the rails for me. Even dating back to the TV series, "Angel" has always been a little more "out there" than "Buffy". Just compare the main characters: an immortal vampire with a soul compared with a teenage girl. But the "Angel" comics have taken that to a whole new place (and I'm not just talking about the time they spent in hell) and the characters no longer feel like the characters from the TV show.

In this issue, the soul-eater finally confronts Angel and Spike (after an issue of mostly meaningless build-up) and she says she's disappointed because Spike doesn't have a soul. Now, at first, I was willing to think that maybe the demon was just wrong (because, let's be honest, isn't that something Illyria should have been able to detect as well?) but from reading some interviews with people involved with the book it seems that in fact Spike doesn't have a soul, and that's the reason he's been acting so out of character.

I'm sorry, but soulless Spike wouldn't act how Spike's been acting in the comic. People always want to focus on the fact that Spike developed attachments to Drusilla and Buffy while soulless and also that he was a nice person before becoming a vampire, but they ignore the 100 years of horror, during which he earned the name "Spike" by driving railroad spikes into his victims' heads and killed two slayers. That's not the Spike I've seen in the comics. Also, the "no soul" thing, if true, raises a whole bunch of questions that I don't trust this creative staff to answer competently.

One last thing on this issue: at one point, Spike hired a bunch of writers to write new prophecies in which he was the hero. Then he decided to have them make Angel the villain, and added, "give him some poncey, drama queen, prissy name like Dusk, or Sunset, or The Fall of Darkness." Now, if I had any confidence in this book, I'd assume they were bringing it in line with "Buffy" continuity, but instead this comes off as more of a petty shot at the "Buffy" comics and Angel's role as Twilight.

Black Cat #2

After reading "Angel", I was in the mood for something that wouldn't piss me off. And while "Black Cat" wasn't great, at least Felicia Hardy felt like the Felicia Hardy I know. She was confident, snarky and dedicated to her family. Still, I'm getting a little sick of the Kraven family, who dominated so much of the "Amazing Spider-Man" run over the past few months. I bought this book to get a change of pace from that book, and it's not really giving me that. However, it does still manage to be enjoyable for 24 pages, which is more than I can say for "Angel".